Clallam Bay prison stabbing case sent to county prosecutor
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Danny Gawlowski/Bellingham Herald
Daniel Edward Johnson, center, stands with public defender Mark Bratlien during a March 2009 court appearance in Whatcom County.

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

CLALLAM BAY — Investigation information into a stabbing thought to be gang-related at the Clallam Bay Corrections Center has been sent to the county Prosecuting Attorney's Office for a formal charging decision.

Sgt. Brian King said the Sheriff's Office has referred a potential charge of second-degree assault against inmate Daniel Edward Johnson — who allegedly stabbed another prisoner on Aug. 15 — to prosecutors.

“There's evidence this was an Aryan Nation hit,” said King, who leads the Clallam County Sheriff's Office's West End contingent, referring to the white-supremacist prison gang also known as the Aryan Brotherhood and the Aryan Family.

Jesse Espinoza, deputy prosecuting attorney, said he received the reports late Friday morning, adding that some follow-up investigation could be needed before he considers formal charges.

Inmate stabbed

Johnson allegedly used a toothbrush sharpened into a shank to stab another inmate several times, King said.

The prison was locked down the evening of Aug. 15 while corrections officers searched for additional weapons or contraband, returning to usual operations the morning of Aug. 17.

Johnson has been segregated from the rest of the corrections center population since the lockdown, state Department of Corrections spokesman Will Mader said.

King said the investigation showed that both Johnson and the victim appeared to be affiliated with the Aryan Nation.

Sheriff's deputies believe the victim, whom King declined to name to protect his safety, was attempting to separate himself from the Aryan gang when he was attacked, King said.

The victim is still in protective custody at the corrections center, King said, adding that the man was treated at Forks Community Hospital and returned to the prison hours after the attack.

“The injuries were relatively minor,” King said.

“He received stitches and was released from Forks hospital.”

Ferndale murders

Johnson is serving a 41-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to the March 3, 2009, murders of his girlfriend, Laura McQueen, 24, and Dominic Blackburn, McQueen's 1-year-old son, in Ferndale, according to Whatcom County Superior Court records.

The alleged assault at the corrections center, if charges are filed, would be at least the second Johnson has been involved in while serving time in the state prison system.

Johnson pleaded guilty in 2011 to third-degree assault after stabbing another inmate with a sharpened steel rod while at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, according to Walla Walla County Superior Court documents.

He was sentenced to 33 months, to be served concurrently with the prison sentence for the Ferndale murders, according to the records read by a court clerk.

The Clallam Bay Corrections Center, located on the northwest tip of the Olympic Peninsula, houses about 850 offenders in medium-, close- and maximum-custody units.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: August 31. 2013 5:26PM
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